Suspicion somewhat allayed, I watched him take the seat my mother offered. Dad picked me up and put me down on Santa’s knee. Santa was authentically cold all over, his clothes, his face, his beard, and he had a good vibe, smelling pleasantly, as men often did in those days, of whiskey. He was a polite, low-key Santa. His “ho-ho-ho” sounded as if he was actually chuckling about some private joke.
He asked me what I wanted most for Christmas, so I told him about the “drink-wet” baby doll I wanted. Outside the door, sleigh bells softly jingled. It was pretty amazing, to be sitting on Santa's knee there beside our lighted Christmas tree, with shiny packages piled beneath.
Then he said “Merry Christmas, Judy Lee,” and said he’d be back later with my presents. As he left, there was a blast of cold and the sound of bells again. I still wanted to peep out the window, but my Dad caught my hand and said, “Hey, JL! What did you think of that?”
“Was that really Santa?”
Although my Santa had been nice, jolly and convincingly bearded, I hadn’t seen him fly away. I'd very much wanted to see the reindeer perform this feat, but it was pretty clear that I wasn’t supposed to watch him go. My cousin was even younger than I, so about all I learned from him the next day was that he too had had a visit from “Santa.” I decided this visitor might have been The Real Santa--but probably not. In retrospect, I believe the whole performance pleased my elders as much as it pleased me.
"God Bless us, Every One..."